Family members of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix have filed a lawsuit against the deceased musician’s brother Leon Hendrix, claiming that Leon has attempted to “hijack” trademarks to hawk a variety of Hendrix-themed products, including cannabis.
In the suit, Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix say that Leon and others have repeatedly been slapped with injunctions for selling unauthorized products, but they persist anyway, with a line of Hendrix-themed products.
“Over the past 10 years, Defendants Andrew Pitsicalis and Leon Hendrix, and a variety of individuals and entities with which they have been associated, have attempted to hijack Plaintiffs’ trademarks and copyrights for their own personal gain,” the suit, file in federal court in New York on Thursday, reads. “Federal courts have repeatedly prohibited those unlawful activities. Ignoring those prohibitions, Pitsicalis and Leon recently have renewed and expanded their infringements of Plaintiffs’ trademarks and copyrights through the creation, development, licensing, manufacturing, promotion, advertising and sale of cannabis, edibles, food, wine, alcohol, “medicines,” electronic products, and other goods.”
The lawsuit goes on to accuse Hendrix of engaging in a trademark and copyrights “assault.”
“Undaunted by their previously failed and enjoined efforts to exploit the Hendrix Marks, Leon and the Pitsicalis Defendants have now aggressively escalated their conduct into a full-scale assault on the Plaintiffs’ trademark and copyrights that relate to Jimi Hendrix, through nothing less than a fraudulent business model and scheme designed to trade on the Hendrix Marks and copyrights in a manner designed to confuse consumers, investors and licensees, the complaint reads.”
The suit takes particular issue with Pitsicalis, the president and founder of Purple Haze Properties, claiming that his company “… represents the greatest guitarist in Rock ‘n’ Roll history, ‘my man, Jimi Hendrix,’” which the suit says is “knowingly false.”
According to the lawsuit, Jimi Hendrix’s father, Al Hendrix, established Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix in 1995, handpicking Jimi’s adopted sister Janie Hendrix, cousin Bob Hendrix and “certain other family members” to manage those companies, and “expressly excluded” Leon and his family from the management team.
Al Hendrix, who died in 2002, bequeathed ownership of the companies to “family members other than Leon Hendrix” in his will, the lawsuit states.
Alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution by blurring and other counts, the lawsuit is asking for unspecified damages. It also asks that the defendants be permanently prevented from “directly or indirectly infringing the Hendrix Marks in any manner.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.